Determining the signs and symptoms of mental illness can be challenging. There is no definite test to know if the thoughts and behaviors of a person are indicators of a mental problem. Here are some common but alarming signs of mental illness in adolescents and adults:

  • Extreme feelings of sadness
  • Too much fear or worry
  • Difficulties in learning or focusing due to confusion
  • Intense or prolonged feeling of anger or irritation
  • Extreme mood swings, e.g. feeling of euphoria
  • Difficulty socializing or understanding other people
  • Alterations in sleeping habits and feeling of low energy or fatigue
  • Increased feeling of hunger or loss of appetite
  • Alterations in sex drive
  • Finding it challenging to perceive what reality is, e.g. hallucinating or delusions
  • Too much use of drugs or excessive alcohol drinking
  • Having physical pain without apparent causes such as stomachaches, headaches, and subsisting physical pain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulty doing activities of daily living and dealing with everyday stress or problems
  • Being too conscious about physical appearance, e.g. having extreme fear of gaining weight


Mental illness can also manifest in young children. That is because they are in the stage where they are trying to figure out how to express their feelings and thoughts. The symptoms are mostly behavioral, and it’s important to know these warning signs and symptoms earlier so you can help them. Here are some of the symptoms of mental illness in children:

  • Changes in performance in school
  • Too much anxiety or worrying
  • Having nightmares often
  • Hyperactivity
  • Throwing temper tantrums often
  • Becoming more aggressive or disobedient

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